All About the Pelvic Floor: What It Is, and How It’s Impacting Your Sex Life, Self-Esteem, and More

If you’re reading this…congratulations, you have a pelvic floor! Everyone, regardless of their sex or gender, has a pelvic floor. None of us would be able to go to the bathroom without one.

Why should you care about the health of your pelvic floor? Because it can impact everything from your lesbian sex life and your ability to enjoy sex, to your self-esteem (whether you’re “too loose” or “too tight”)…and some “TMI” topics that we’re about to dive into.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

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Your “pelvic floor” is comprised of three layers of muscle that connects your pubic bone in the front of your body to your coccyx in the back. The coccyx is the small, triangular bone at the base of your spine, also known as your tailbone. These layers of muscle keep everything below tucked inside. They allow you to perform essential functions, such as peeing, with relative ease and comfort. (Sexy stuff, I know!)

For many women, pelvic floor health has become a more prominent topic lately.

Common Pelvic Floor Problems

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Have you recently had any of the following issues? (Don’t worry; I won’t tell anyone.)

  • You constantly need to use the bathroom
  • You can’t “go” (constipation) or you can’t control the flow (incontinence)
  • It hurts to poop (evacuation)
  • It hurts during sex (you feel a ripping, burning, or tearing sensation—ouch)
  • You have lower back pain (ugh)
  • You feel ongoing pain in your pelvic region with or without needing to pee

These are all common signs that may indicate that you aren’t relaxing and using your pelvic floor muscles correctly. Depending on who you ask, these may be a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).

I prefer to think of these issues as an invitation to get to know your pelvic floor. You can start practicing using the muscles, squeezing them, and relaxing them “on demand” like Netflix.

Are You “Too Tight” or “Too Loose”? (Or Somewhere In Between?)

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Like any muscle, the pelvic floor muscles can be “too tight” or “too loose.” 

When you’re too tight, it means the muscles holding everything in can’t stretch or expand to let anything out…or in (if you know what I mean). Inserting your fingers, a toy, or even a tampon can feel painful. It can feel like a ripping, tearing, or burning sensation.

If you’re too loose, that means the pelvic floor muscles have been stretched out to the point where they can’t contract. A “too loose” pelvic floor can feel like incontinence. Think: peeing a little when you sneeze (“peezing”), or feeling like you always have to pee, but can’t hold it. This looseness can happen as a result of weight gain, injury or trauma to the pelvic area, genetics, or even pregnancy.

…And maybe the problem isn’t purely physical at all. Maybe there’s an emotional component to it, in which case, a therapist or counselor who specializes in sex-related issues may help. Here’s a great resource. (You may also reach out to me for sex therapy services.)

Sexual Discomfort from Pelvic Floor Issues

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According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are no known physiological differences between lesbian women and straight women. So pelvic floor problems can bother you whether you’re a lesbian or other sexual orientation.

If you’re too tight or too loose (or somewhere in between), you can experience a lack of pleasurable sensation during sex. One study1 showed that pelvic floor disorders were associated with lower libido, infrequent orgasm, and decreased arousal. Out of 282 participants in the study, 5 (1.7%) were homosexual, 2 (0.7%) were bisexual, and (97.6%) were heterosexual.

Don’t Feel Shame Over This Stuff

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It’s estimated that 1 in 3 women will suffer from some kind of pelvic pain in their lives, whether it’s during sex or in daily life. If that’s you, you’re not alone. You don’t have to be in pain forever. You don’t have to feel embarrassed or feel bad about any of this. You deserve to feel good in your own body. And you deserve to fully enjoy sex.

For that to happen, you need a healthy pelvic floor with strong muscles. “Tight and strong are two very different concepts. We want strong pelvic floor muscles. We want the muscles to function optimally,” says Dr. Francesca Warner.2

As with any muscle, it just takes some practice, getting used to working with it, and knowing what you’re doing. It’s your pelvic floor, so have some fun with it!

How to Work with Your Pelvic Floor

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Depending on how severe your pelvic floor issues are, you can either explore natural solutions on your own…or, for severely injured muscles, you may wish to consult with a physical therapist.

Here are some options to explore:

  1. Kegels. “Kegels” are the crown jewel to strengthening the pelvic floor, if the muscles are too weak. You can practice them by:

    • Squeezing your pelvic floor muscles while you’re peeing, to stop the flow. Release, then squeeze again. Once you have a sense of which muscles to work, you can do Kegels at any point during the day. Try for three to five sets of 10 reps.
    • Inserting a finger inside your vagina—then try squeezing it and releasing it.

    Don’t assume you should jump right into Kegels. If your pelvic floor muscles are too tight, this can make them even tighter.

  2. “Lift weights” with Your Lady Parts. Intimate Rose makes special weights and wands to help you train your pelvic floor muscles in the comfort of your home. Check out some of their products:

    Also, check out Sacred Weapon’s Yoni egg here.

    Kim Anami is known for lifting coconuts and other heavy-ish objects with her vagina. Although she’s a heterosexual female, you can still check out her store page for fun, interesting products to try for your lovely, lesbian pelvic floor!

  3. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, warm baths, and exercise are common recommendations to help relax tight muscles—yes, even those muscles.

  4. Biofeedback/Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy. This is where you use monitoring equipment to measure your pelvic floor as you tighten and relax the muscles (usually done with the help of a physical therapist). Your physical therapist can note your progress and give you feedback and other exercises to do, depending on which part of the pelvic floor muscles need help.

  5. Surgery and medsshould be a last resort. Sometimes PFD could have been caused by pelvic surgery or trauma in the first place.

The most important thing to remember about any treatment method is to stay consistent and take your time. You’re “retraining” muscles on how to work the way they should. In some cases, you might even use weight training to make the muscles stronger.

Find a Physical Therapist for Pelvic Floor Issues

To find personalized help, try Googling:

  • “physical therapist for pelvic health” + your city and state
  • “holistic pelvic care” + your city and state

Currently, many doctors and health specialists tend to ask health questions that don’t apply to lesbians or lesbian sexual health at all3 …resulting in “a strictly hetero ‘pregnancy and STD scare’ shock-fest that is the unfortunate norm in this country,” says Katie Boyden, writing for Pride.4

You’ll want to find an LGBTQ+ friendly specialist, physical therapist and/or a lesbian-friendly gynecologist or doctor in your area. If you can’t find someone locally, many specialists have virtual or telehealth physical therapy appointments available.

For More Articles Check Out These Recent Posts:

What to Do When a Partner Tells You They Have An STI

How to Tell a Sexual Partner that You Have an STI

How to Step out of Your Sexual Comfort Zone

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2746737/ []
    2. https://mamaglow.com/pelvic-floor-health-too-tight-vagina/ []
    3. https://www.pride.com/need-know/2014/06/23/being-lesbian-gynecologist []
    4. https://www.pride.com/need-know/2014/06/23/being-lesbian-gynecologist?pg=1#article-content []
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